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Risk factors for stereotypic behaviour in captive ungulates

Behavioural needs are highly motivated actions critical to a species’ survival and reproduction. Prolonged restriction of these behaviours can lead to stereotypic behaviours (SB) in captive animals, and this is particularly common in ungulate species. While risk factors for SB have been suggested for some ungulates, no study has integrated these findings to identify which aspects of ungulates’ wild behavioural biology and captive husbandry are potential drivers for SB across this clade. We collated SB data from 15,236 individuals across

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Using natural history information for zoo animal management: a case study with okapi (Okapia johnstoni)

Until recently, the impact that the presence of conspecifics may have on stereotypic behavior in naturally solitary species exhibited in zoological institutions has largely been ignored. This study examined the effect of adding a visual barrier between animal holding areas at the Brookfield Zoo on stereotypic head-rolling behaviour in an adult female okapi (Okapia johnstoni). Instantaneous sampling was used to document the proportion of time the female okapi spent head-rolling prior to and after visual barriers were constructed. Behavioural surveys were

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Why and how should we use environmental enrichment to tackle stereotypic behavior?

This paper summarises recent findings on the causation of stereotypic behaviours and other abnormal repetitive behaviours (ARBs) in captive animals: primarily motivational frustration and/or brain dysfunction, with possible contributory roles also being played by habit-formation and ‘coping’ effects. We then review the extent to which ARBs occur in zoos and similar, estimating that at least 10 000 captive wild animals are affected worldwide. We argue for ‘zero tolerance’ of such ARBs, because stress and poor welfare raise ethical issues, while

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Impact of a new exhibit on stereotypic behaviour in an elderly captive African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Stereotypic behaviour in zoo elephants is considered an indicator of impaired welfare. The underlying causes are diverse and many aspects are still unexplored. Nevertheless, many zoological institutions make huge efforts to improve the well-being of their elephants. The construction of a new exhibit provides a chance to gain further evidence on the impact of such measures on elephant behaviour. We report a significant decrease in both the amount and frequency of swaying in an elderly African elephant (Loxodonta africana) after

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